“They’ve extended the time for submissions on Senator Bob Brown’s republican plebiscite Bill,” the caller said. ” It’s probably because they haven’t received enough submissions supporting the Bill, and they’re calling on their mates to pour them in.”

 I recalled media reports about the current human rights charter consultations, where much was made about the number of supporting submissions received about state charters.  Perhaps my caller had a point, particularly when no announcement about an extension seems to have been made.

I must admit that the initial call for submissions over Summer had suggested the republican politicians were not interested in submissions. Perhaps they expected republican stalwarts would be the only ones to oblige. 

But it is so easy to attribute base motives to those in politics, and it is now the season of Lent.  One must try to be better than that.

The very idea that the republican politicians would surreptitiously extend the deadline so as to trawl for supportive submissions seems to me to be negated  by one fact of which my caller was unaware.

As I said to my caller:” But these are honourable men and women. No member of the Australian Senate would ever commit such an impropriety.” 

But just to complete the file, we decided to send the letter below by email to the Senate. It is of course just dot the i's and cross the t's. No more than that.

We know there is no hanky- panky in our Senate or indeed the whole Australian Parliament.

And I do hope that we have not committed a contempt of some form of republicain lèse majesté in publishing this.

Or will we be dragged before the Priveleges Committee, as Frank Browne and Raymond Fitzpatrick famously were in 1955?  When called to the Bar of the House, one was ordered by the Speaker "Take your hands off the bar." 

They went up the river, as they say, for 90 days. 

As I write this,  I am trembling at the thought of the "Flynn and Flint Republicain Lèse Majesté Priveleges Case of 2009." 

But I can't exactly  see Senator Brown presiding like some latter day Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre  over some republican Comité de salut public, the Committee of Public Safety during the French Revolution. 

During the Reign of Terror the Committee sent thousands of monarchists to the tender embrace of Madame La Guillotine.

…letter emailed to the Senate….  

 

I represent Australians for Constitutional Monarchy (ACM).   

I am writing about the enquiry being conducted by the Finance and Public Administration Committee into the Plebiscite for an Australian Republic Bill 2008.  

 You have advised a supporter of ACM twice that the published closing date of 6th February 2009 has been extended and that as at 24th February 2009 you were still accepting submissions.   

I would be grateful if you could advise me of the following:

  

1.    Who decided to extend the time for making submissions? 

2.    Under what authority was this decision made? 

3.    To what date was the extension made? 

4.    Was this approved by the Committee?  If so, when was the approval given? 

5.    Why was the extension made? 

6.    Was it made as a result of a submission?  If so, was the submission oral, and if so, when, by whom and to whom? 

7.    If the submission was in writing by whom was it made, and may I have a copy please? 

8.    How were the public informed that the extension was made? 

9.    Was the Senate advised of the extension? 

10. Will further extensions be made? 

11. How many submissions were received on or before 6 February?  How many submissions have been received since 6 February?

 

 

Yours sincerely,  

Thomas Flynn